There’s a scene in the movie “The Darjeeling Limited” where Peter, Jack and Francis are sitting in the back of a bus that’s traveling through rural India, and they’re approached by a local man who asks them, “What are you doing in this place?”
I have a weird amount of time left in this country, and so I’m obviously using it to further the existential crisis I’ve been having throughout my stay. The voice in my head sounds a lot like that man in the movie, except there are italics: what are you doing in this place? And what will you do when you are gone?
I was talking to Z recently, and he said, “It’s weird to think about it all going on without you.” People moving around, just living, but me no longer in the middle of it. When I’m back in the States, everything will be totally different, the way I’ll talk about this place, what I’ll think when I read the paper. Maybe that’s why people don’t leave- if you stay, you get to keep things.
Tonight I’ll be waiting on the curb for my sherut to the airport, and the feeling will be like swimming in water when you know the bottom is very far away. In the meantime, I’m eating my last basket of donut peaches from the shuk and making queer little bargains—Israel, if you promise to stay here, I promise I’ll be back.